Killing in the name of business. It’s hard to imagine today that this could have been even momentarily something to pass without condemnation, but times have changed. On Dec. 6, 1928, Colombian soldiers shot to death banana workers on strike at the United Fruit Company. The U.S. government’s man in Bogotá, Ambassador Jefferson Caffery, sent a dispatch home a month later, informing Washington: “I have the honor to report … that the total number of strikers killed by the Colombian military exceeded one thousand.”
Moneymaking could now return to normal after the month-long strike. Back in the U.S., an aging and ailing Minor Cooper Keith, founder of the United Fruit Company, got the news. Years earlier, Keith had been a restless youngster from New York City who bailed on his private schooling, and at 17 tried his hand at cattle ranching in Texas. But Texas wasn’t big enough for young Keith. Two years after Texas, Keith’s uncle and brothers invited him to Costa Rica to build a railroad. Continue reading on OZY…
“Out of all the medicinal plants, it’s the father of all of them,” Martín Ágreda tells Colombian news magazine Semana.
Mr. Ágreda is a Taita – a kind of traditional doctor who prepares and administers ayahuasca, a super potent psychedelic tea made from brewing Amazonian vines. It’s an infusion. And you drink it.
But guys like Ágreda are also viewed as shamans – spiritual leaders of indigenous communities who guide people through the experience of ayahuasca.
“Es uno de los remedios de la medicina indígena amazónica que más se ha popularizado en el país. Los Taitas (médicos tradicionales) son los encargados de preparar un jarabe con el bejuco para luego ofrecerlo en un ritual que permite a quienes lo ingieren limpiar su cuerpo y su espíritu. Actualmente, el yagé corre varios riesgos. En la selva es afectado por los químicos rociados para la fumigación de cultivos ilícitos, la construcción de megaproyectos y los hostigamientos provocados por los grupos armados…”
“It’s one of the remedies of Amazonian indigenous medicine most popularized in the country. The ‘Taitas’ (traditional doctors) are in charge of preparing a syrup from the vine of the plant in order to later offer an experience that lets those who take it clean their body and soul. In reality, drinking ayahuasca runs various risks. In the jungle, it’s affected by chemicals for the fumigation of illicit crops, the construction of infrastructure projects and harassment from armed groups…”
Check out these other resources about Ayahuasca
First-hand account of drinking ayahuasca – Benjamin Hansen-Bundy @ Wine & Bowties
Open your mind to the new psychedelic science – WIRED Magazine
The ringing in the right ear of Edgar Bermudez has not stopped since the former policeman felt an explosion crack open his face, knock him to the ground, blow out his eyes and steal his sight forever. Never, in that horrifying instant, did he lose consciousness. He was 26 years old.
Edgar was stationed in Nariño, a department in the south west of the country, where Marxist guerrilla and Colombian military vie for territory in a half-century armed conflict that has accounted for over 200,000 Colombian deaths. Edgar was part of a special ops team. Their mission was to eradicate coca grown in rebel FARC-held territory. Starting at 1am in the morning, bombs and grenades rained down on him and his battalion. The young policeman watched his friend die. He almost made it through the 6 hour bombardment unharmed. But then there was the explosion.
“The ringing sound bothers me still. It comes and goes though, so not all the time…” says Edgar over hot chocolate in a quiet cafe in Bogotá’s Palermo neighborhood.
Former policeman Edgar Bermudez is blind after an explosion took away his sight. photo Wesley Tomaselli
There are other things that bother the 34 year old blind man as well: It bothers him how people don’t watch their umbrellas in the rain. He can’t see them. People don’t pay attention. And the pointed tips strike him in the face as the crowds hurry by. It bothers him that he has to use a cane to get around Bogotá. And it bothers him that victims of the country’s 50-year war don’t get the reparations he thinks they deserve.
How to deal with victims and reparations for their losses is the 5th issue on a 6 point agenda being discuss between members of Colombia and the FARC in Havana, Cuba. Nearly one year on, preliminary agreements on only 1 of 6 points have been reached.
Broadcasting from Bogotá, this is the week of October 7th.
What’s happening this week in Colombia? A trade official sees big opportunity for Colombia and the Pacific Alliance, exports are back up, and the peace talks, say the FARC, could go on hold if necessary.
photo credit: Wesley Tomaselli
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